The first substantive line of George Osborne's budget speech was: "We've now cut the deficit not by a quarter, but by a third". This might be surprising to anybody who read my earlier blog here, which pointed out that the deficit had (measured on a rolling twelve- month basis) been rising, not falling, for the last year or so.
Growth has ground to a halt, real wages are falling and more than 6m people want work but can't find it: yet our chancellor continues to fiddle - with beer duties and the pottery industry - as the British economy flatlines. The inconvenient truth is that George Osborne has become Labour's greatest electoral asset.
As a Conservative I have no pleasure in exposing David Cameron's deficit claims. However, as long as the party continues to talk down the economy via the blame game, confidence will not be given an opportunity to return. For it is an undeniable and inescapable economic fact: without confidence and certainty there can be no real growth.